Sean Friar

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Sean Friar
Born1985 (age 36–37)
Los Angeles, CA
GenresContemporary classical, Avant-garde music, Experimental
Years active2000-present
LabelsNew Amsterdam Records, Innova Recordings

Sean Friar (born 1985 in Los Angeles, California) is an American composer and pianist. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado.[1]


Sean Friar was born and raised in Los Angeles. He studied Music Composition and Psychology at UCLA where he graduated in 2007. He continued his studies at Princeton University, where he received an M.F.A. and Ph.D. in Composition. His primary teachers were Paul Chihara, Paul Lansky, Steven Mackey, and Dmitri Tymoczko.

Friar has been commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ensemble Modern, New World Symphony, Alarm Will Sound, American Composers Orchestra, NOW Ensemble, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Present Music, and the Scharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic. Other performers of his music include So Percussion, Ensemble Klang, Crash Ensemble, Psappha New Music Ensemble, Alter Ego (Musikensemble), Ensemble Argento, and many others.

Friar is the recipient of the 2011 Rome Prize in Music Composition.[2] He serves as the chair of the composition department at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver and was previously on the Music Composition faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music.

Concert Works[edit]

Friar's music is known for its propulsive energy,[3] adventurous orchestration,[4] and sense of humor.[5]

Large Ensemble

  • 2009 "Out of Line" for chamber orchestra
  • 2011 "Clunker Concerto" for percussion quartet on junk car parts and chamber orchestra
  • 2013 "Noise Gate" for orchestra
  • 2013 "In the Blue" for sinfonietta
  • 2015 "Finding Time" for sinfonietta
  • 2017 "Dynamics"/"Concerto for Cello and Wind Ensemble" for solo cello and chamber winds.
  • 2019 "Emerald Oasis" for orchestra

Solo Music

  • 2010 Teaser for solo cello
  • 2010 Oboemobo for solo oboe and effects pedals
  • 2012 Wind-up Etude for solo piano
  • 2016 Chrysalis for soloist on piano and percussion
  • 2018 Elastic Loops for solo piano (composed 2007, revised 2018)

Chamber Music

  • 2006 "Hell-Bent" for violin, cello, and piano
  • 2008 "Little Green Pop" for two saxophones, trombone, electric guitar, piano, percussion, and sound engineer
  • 2008 "String Quartet"
  • 2009 "Velvet Hammer" for flute, clarinet, electric guitar, piano, and bass
  • 2009 "Scale 9" for clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion (also versions with flute and viola)
  • 2010 "Fighting Words" for soprano, clarinet, electric guitar, violin, cello, percussion, drum kit, and piano
  • 2010 "Short Winds" for woodwind quintet (alternate version for saxophone quartet)
  • 2012 "One-Way Trip" for clarinet, horn, two violins, viola, cello, bass, and piano
  • 2012 "Etude for English Horn and Prepared Piano" for English horn and prepared piano
  • 2013 "Breaking Point" for clarinet, trumpet, electric guitar, two violins, viola, cello, bass, percussion, and piano
  • 2014 "Two Solitudes" for flute, viola, and harp
  • 2014 "Four Streets" for percussion quartet
  • 2015 "Shades" for alto sax and piano
  • 2016 "Kindly Reply" for brass quintet
  • 2016 "Come Again" for two pianos
  • 2019 "Before and After" for flute, clarinet, electric guitar, piano, and bass
  • 2020 "Fit" for two digital pianos with dynamic microtonal pitch-mapping (using Pianoteq software)


  • 2008 Boomdinger for percussion quartet and laptop orchestra. (Collaboration with composer, Cameron Britt.)



  • 2011 – "Velvet Hammer" with NOW Ensemble on "Awake" (New Amsterdam Records)
  • 2012 – "Short Winds" with Madera Quintet on "Five at Play" (Crescent Phase Recordings)
  • 2012 – "Teaser" with Mariel Roberts on "nonextraneous sounds" (Innova Recordings)
  • 2018 – "Kindly Reply" with the Brass Project on "Cityscaping"
  • 2021 – "Elastic Loops" with Matthew McCright on "Endurance" (Vox Novus)
  • 2021 – "Before and After" with NOW Ensemble on "Before and After" (New Amsterdam Records)


  1. ^ "Sean Friar". Philipedia. LA Phil. Archived from the original on 3 May 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  2. ^ "American Academy in Rome Announces 2011-12 Rome Prize Winners". NewMusicBox. 18 April 2011.
  3. ^ Schneider, John (28 May 2013). "PRESENT MUSIC'S MULTITUDE of Great Performances". EXPRESS Milwaukee. Archived from the original on 22 January 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  4. ^ Lowder, Bryan (19 July 2011). "Horns, harps and hubcaps: The classical orchestra needs some new instruments". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  5. ^ Sheridan, Molly (15 January 2013). "Sounds Heard: Mariel Roberts – Nonextraneous Sounds". New Music Box. Retrieved 17 May 2015.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "The 2007 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composers Awards". ASCAP. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Lee Ettelson Award". Composers Inc. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Composers / Copland House Residency Awards // Copland House …where America's musical past and future meet".
  9. ^ "American Academy in Rome Announces 2011-12 Rome Prize Winners". 18 April 2011.
  10. ^[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "The Charles Ives Awards". American Academy of Arts and Letters. Archived from the original on 31 January 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Grant". Chamber Music America. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  13. ^ "ASCAP Members Selected for 2013 Fromm Music Foundation Commissions". ASCAP. Retrieved 17 May 2015.

External links[edit]